Today I wondered what is the worth of a day? So begins the first chapter of The Folded Clock--a book by Heidi Julavits. The material comprises two years in the life of the author in diary form. And as might be expected, the story takes on the surprise, humor, delight and ambivalence of her life, because that is reality.
I can relate. I attempt to focus on that very delicate balance of keeping life "day to day." I often fail, allowing the past to poke around in my psyche. "Oh God, if only I hadn't spent that money," or "I should have not said that or eaten that huge piece of pie." Sometimes I shift gears, and it's not ghosts noisily clamoring in my past, but rather anxieties spooling their way into my future like coarse thread. "I don't think I'll ever be able to finish that book project--I'm not good enough. I don't know enough. What if my health doesn't hold out? I'm getting old." I know that this type of thinking is not helpful, so I constantly go back to the concept of what I call "increments." Taking life in small steps and noticing the good helps me more than anything. And this is a coping tool that is not new. Jesus talks about the concept in Matthew 6:34 (The Message): Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.
Often one of my best ways of remembering the notion of increments is on my way to work in the morning. I usually have the privilege of watching the sunrise. I drive over a bridge each day and never tire of that orange ball of sun prominent amidst so many varigated colors. Just last Thursday, the light streamed through the sky and the cloud plumes radiated shades of lavender and plum. Boats rested quietly in the harbor, their sails mirrored in the still waters.
Each day at work I have the ability to make my list for the day, giving over my time to God's direction and favor, asking the Holy Spirit to breathe over my endeavors. Just for today, that's what I have. What are the small steps that are needful for the day? What is in my hand today? I listen to classical music and drink hot, flavorful coffee--small pleasures that bring comfort.
And so I go on. Never perfect. Not alway ideal. Yet I keep practicing the principle of daily increments--the time that God has given me for this day--my destiny for this day. And with beauty and value the increments add up. The book gets written, the website becomes a reality, the exercise happens, the house gets cleaned, the trip is planned--memories made. I could go on and on--life bubbling up effervescent, the fizz of it, the slight biting taste of it on my tongue.